Friday, 28 April 2017
From the Winter Palace to Racing Ferraris
On March 2nd, 1881 the day after the death of Alexander II, the Imperial ceremonial progression from the Malachite Hall to the Cathedral in the Winter Palace began at 1:00 PM for the new Emperor Alexander III to take his oath.
In the Cathedral, the Minister of Justice Dmitri N. Nabokov, the grandfather of Vladimir Nabokov, read the manifesto and the text of the oath.
Painting (below) of Alexander III on horseback in the Winter Palace's Square
Alexander III’s son Nicholas and Dmitri’s son Vladimir, although on opposing sides on the need of a Duma in 1905, were intrigued with the new automobile age.
A century later his great-grandson Dmitri, the son of Vladimir Nabokov, was an opera singer living in Monza near Milan’s La Scala, a racing car driver and owner of multiple Ferraris.
Photograph (below) of Dmitri’s mother Vera Nabokov with his Ferrari
Dmitri sold the Nabokov archive to the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library in 1992. He kept, until his death in 2012, his father’s diaries, letters and other material and permitted access to researchers. He allowed Brian Boyd, the editor of ‘Letters to Vera’, to “rummage through every shelf, drawer and cupboard in the apartment and basement”. A Renaissance man who believed in ‘New World openness’.